A few words that I offered to the rather encouragingly larger crowd assembled:
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Why is it, do you think, that there are those who persecute people who seek righteousness? It is, I suppose, in one sense, a great mystery as all sin is a great mystery. And yet, if we look deeper into why abortions happen, we can see that at its root is pride, as it is with all sin.
Pride in being the arbiter of human life. Pride in deciding who will live and who will die. But pride itself cannot sustain abortion. It must have an accomplice or two in order to maintain its position in our culture.
Christian humility, of course, is Pride’s enemy. The more humiliation there is, the less Pride can prop up abortion. And if abortion still stands, it is because true humility has not taken root in you and me. And why is that, do you suppose?
I think it’s because we value human respect too much. Jesus’s sword has not separated us from our families and friends, as it should. We don’t much care for that sword. There is a natural aversion to it because with that sword comes separation and pain. It fashions the Cross we are to carry. Yet that sword is not about separation as an end but only as a means — to separate us from the World and ingraft us into Christ who is all in all. It is meant to cut us off from the Prince of this world and plant us in the Garden of Life and draw all people to it in a unity based on love and truth.
My dear friends, standing here outslide 65 Bank Street tells me that you are not so concerned about the human respect of contemporary culture as you are with human dignity endowed to us by Our Creator. You bear within your witness your desire to be cut off from the culture of death, and to suffer the consequences of it. You bear in your person the same Passion that Jesus suffered — albeit on a smaller scale in a different time and in a different place – ignored, mocked, assaulted, being vulnerable, helpless, humiliated.
All these things point to the ultimate tragedy of rejection. That rejection of God’s Son on the Cross 2,000 years ago is the same rejection of the Unborn today. The scourge of abortion is no less than the Devil’s fury against the Incarnation itself, and yet how many people in our churches see it for what it really is?
That’s why two months ago, the Holy Father said that “Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world.”
“Every unborn child has the face of the Lord.” What a beautiful expression!
How is it, then, that the Passion of Jesus continues at 65 Bank Street and all the abortion mills around the world, month after month, year after year? Unborn children and our teachers of religion share one thing in common. They’re both virtually silent on the issue. One is beholden to contemporary human respect while the other gives its life as a payment for it.
To be rejected and mocked by a stranger for witnessing to the Unborn is perhaps uncomfortable and upsetting. To be rejected by one’s own family or close friends because of the dignity of human life takes it to a whole new level of suffering. But it is a suffering necessary for the emancipation and deliverance of the unborn child, so the face of the Lord, the face of the Unborn might shine to an unbelieving world.
Jesus has never sought to win this war alone. He wants to include us in that Victory. To include our sufferings, our sacrifices, our dejections, and our tears in the victory that is sure to come. The head is not victorious without the body. And the body cannot claim the victory without the Cross.
Our Blessed Lord once told his disciples: “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” The cup that Jesus offers us is not filled with fine wine of disordered human respect, but with the sour vinegar of rejection. But it is not a rejection that conquers. It is a rejection that is conquered.